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FRC 2014

10,000 Lakes Regional

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If you have never been to a robotics regional, it is well worth the trip. Ours takes place in Williams Arena, at the U of M. The event is like a cross between a science fair and a sports game. In one gym, all of the teams have a booth, and are available to answer questions about their robot. On the other half, loud music blares from speakers in the semi-darkened stands, and cheers echo as robots score goals. Many teams, including us, have mascots that dance over by the stage. A late night chat with a security guard confirmed that we have a larger attendance than women’s basketball.

Now that you understand the feel of the regional, I should explain how we actually did at the regional. After some difficulties getting the Chugga working on Friday morning, we emerged successful from the pits. Our robot could catch from a human, and throw the giant ball into the high goal. Our autonomous even worked, netting us a neat 20-25 points in that phase. Although we could shoot into the high goal, we mostly did not. We were concerned that our drivers hadn’t practiced enough to be accurate. Plus, throwing the ball over the truss was worth more points. We would receive the ball from the human, and toss over the truss, letting our team mates push the ball into the low goal, to begin the cycle again.

You might have picked up on the flaw in our strategy. We needed our teammates to be able to score quickly, which was harder than we anticipated. As a result, we mostly lost, but we scored well enough to be picked for the Eliminations (Quarter-Final), where we lost 2-0. The most important thing was that we had lots of fun, and learned a lot.

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Mentor Jeremy leads a group of students to our pit.

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Marcell and Brady chilling with Chairman Scottie in our pit.
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Paige dancing with the mascots on stage.
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Photo-op with Scotbot and David
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Chairman Scottie being brought onto the field.
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Ray getting ready to help drive Chairman.
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We also got the chance to talk with lots of other teams!

Bag Day

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Bag day came and with heavy hearts we bagged our robot built but with many issues yet to be resolved. Bag day was also a day where we started to build the shadow bot with renewed fervor.

Week 0!

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Week 0 was a great experience for all teams involved although it ended up being more of a workshop day some teams like Harding and central got their robots out on the field and driving. We were talking afterwards, about improvements for next year and we thought that instead of a week 0 competition we would rather do a group build instead.

Progress On the Shadow Bot

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We successfully bagged our robot last week and can no longer work on it. Our current concentration is on creating the shadow bot, a replica of our original robot that we will be able to use to practice driving. This strategy will allow us to be more prepared for competition because our driver and human player can practice as necessary. So far, we have built the frame of the shadow bot. Our focus is mainly on the shooter, because in our competition robot, the shooter has been the most difficult and troublesome part. We plan to become proficient with the shooter so we will be ready on competition day.

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Chairman’s Award Video

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Currently, the media and business teams have teamed up to work on the video for the Chairman’s Award. We have been conducting interviews with team members to provide different perspectives about being on the team.It has been fun to hear stories and explanations from our team members of why they participate in robotics, and why they love it. Through the filming journey, we have experienced several different technical difficulties that have hindered our progress. This includes cameras without space, running out of battery power, and sound difficulties.  Luckily, our team is resilient and we were able to move forward, finding the solution as completing the majority of our footage on an iPad.  Our next step is to compile the footage and begin editing to create the video.

Chairman’s Award and Shadow Bot

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Today we did more interview for the chairman’s award. Things are going well. We cleared up the audio with a new mic and fine tuning of the mixer board. We also transferred the 2013 cRIO to the new shadow bot. We added components to the new shadow bot. We built the winch mechanism that pulls back the catapult. We added the reversible bumper covers. The programming team worked on vision code and the networking code.

Week 4

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We’ve entered our fourth week of build season and things are clicking along. We’ve finished the mechanical part of the scoop, and catapult and the pneumatics are being added. A shadow robot is being built in case our first robot breaks.The programming team continues their update of the software. While the Business team and drive team showed off this years chassis to the FLL team at Highland Park Junior High.